Right-wing presidential candidate Le Pen backtracks on French EU exit 

Front National leader backs ‘dual currency’ and EU renegotiation

FAR RIGHT FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Marie Le Pen has diluted her opposition to the European Union framework months ahead of crucial national elections. 

Moderate European leaders fear further destabilisation of continental cooperation if the anti-immigrant party comes to power. 

Positioning herself ahead of the votes in April and May, Le Pen distanced herself from a pledge to leave the European Union. 

When asked if she would follow the Tory example of a full EU exit, she replied: “No, I think we need to renegotiate with the EU to bring back sovereignty to France, backed by a referendum.”

Le Pen faces criticism that her party’s policies against migrants and the 28 nation membership body would isolate France and damage its economy. 

Le Pen also backtracked on a full exit from the euro currency, instead proposing a hybrid model of a return to the franc pegged to the euro as a reserve currency.

“Le Pen’s shameless u-turn and lack of detail comes after polls show most French backed staying in the EU.” Political Scrapbook

Recent polling found that a strong majority of people in France back the European Union, an increase to 67 per cent since England and Wales began a chaotic process of EU exit. 

Liberal UK commentators Political Scrapbook hit out a Le Pen, accusing her of running scared on the EU issue.

“Le Pen’s shameless u-turn and lack of detail comes after polls show most French backed staying in the EU. Only 33 per cent of French voters want to leave.

“After the car-crash Britain is going through, that number is likely to fall even further,” the group claimed.

However, Lucy Williamson - BBC News reporter in Paris - said that Le Pen’s remarks are part of a strategy to reduce concern that she would bring economic and political instability.

She said the change of emphasis was “designed to expand the party's appeal and reassure those voters who are nervy about the National Front's hard-line policies towards the EU”.

Victories for Brexit and Donald Trump have led to fears for a rise of right-wing populism, and a backlash against liberal rights in the western world. 

In December left-winger Alexander Van der Bellen narrowly defeated the far-right in the Austrian presidential election. 

Picture courtesy of Ernest Morales

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